The Effectiveness of Videophones in Home Healthcare for the Elderly

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Objectives.This study evaluates the effectiveness of telecare, the use of videophones in healthcare for the elderly in communities, and proposes an effective application of telecare in home healthcare.Methods.An intervention study design was applied to evaluate the add-on benefits to home healthcare from a videophone system using Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) installed in individual homes of clients and service providers. An intervention group of home healthcare cases were provided with videophones (VHHC group), and it was compared to a reference group of regular healthcare cases (HHC group). Persons from the 2 groups were individually matched according to sex, age, and their independence in activities of daily living. The functional independence of the individuals in the 2 groups was assessed before and 3 months after home healthcare was started, with and without videophones. The effectiveness of videophones was assessed by analyzing the improvements in functional independence using a paired t test.Results.Improvements in functional independence of 5 pairs of males and 11 pairs of females were analyzed. Improvements in ADL, communication, and social cognition independence of the VHHC group over the 3-month trial period measured by the Functional Independence Measure were 1.5 points, 0.7 points, and 1.9 points, respectively; statistically, these were significantly greater than those of the HHC group (individually P < 0.05).Conclusions.The effectiveness of the videophones in home healthcare service was found to be significant. This evidence supports the use of videophones in home healthcare to improve the quality of service.

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